Lite2Sound™ PX and Lite2Sound™ PX2 are portable photodiode amplifiers. These audio devices let you hear a wide variety of sounds emitted by light sources. Lite2Sound is easy to use – just put in a 9V alkaline battery and plug in your headphones. Then bring it out in the city at night to experience the hidden soundscape of our modern world. And as some sound designers have discovered, it is also useful in the studio for creative sound design using manipulated light sources.
Learn more about photodiode amplifiers at our dedicated Lite2Sound website, www.lite2sound.com
This is a bare PCB device, it does not have a case or enclosure. Battery is not included.
DIY kit / Pre-assembled
Lite2Sound PX v1.5 is a DIY kit and requires assembly (instructions included). Lite2Sound PX2 is pre-assembled and ready to use out of the box. Lite2Sound PX and PX2 both offer the same circuit and sensor.
Listen to the Lights!
Since the beginning of the 21st century, high tech light sources have appeared everywhere. That is obvious, but what surprised us was how many of them are making audio waveforms hidden inside their invisible fluctuations of brightness. The Rare Waves Lite2Sound PX is a sensitive photodiode amplifier that lets you hear these sounds clearly. It is not a synthesizer at all – Lite2Sound is more like a microphone that picks up a hidden layer of reality. Plug in headphones and bring it outside in the city at night to hear shifting layers of frequencies, clicks and ticks, and accidentally beautiful harmonic soundscapes emitted by our civilization. It can also be useful in your studio to record unusual audio sounds and ambient sonic textures from manipulated light sources for a creative angle on sound design.
This unit receives modulated light very clearly, but note that it is also slightly sensitive to electromagnetic (EMF) sounds when it is near AC wires, electric motors, and other intense alternating or pulsed electric fields.
Not every light source makes sounds. Some lights are quiet, others are loud even though they may look the same. Some invisible infrared lights make sounds even though it looks like nothing’s there. Some lights are small and dim and sound best when this device is held very close. On the other hand, at night and in dim lighting, Lite2Sound PX/PX2 automatically boosts its sensitivity and is capable of picking up signals across a room, from across the street or down the block, or farther, depending mainly on how bright the source is.
Beyond the ubiquitous mains hum transmitted by lighting, you can find many sounds of different character being produced by high technology. In technology-saturated spaces, musical chords emerge and fade as luminous sources harmonize together into unintended soundscapes. Even nature creates content for Lite2Sound’s reception, if one looks in the right places. Its purpose is to reward your curiosity.
DIY Kit information
The kit contains the PCB, all of the parts needed, and printed assembly instructions. Previous experience with soldering and kit-building is recommended, but not necessary. The builder’s guide is available as a PDF file below:
- Soldering iron with good quality tip
- Rosin-core solder … 0.032″ diameter suggested
- Wire cutters, flush cutting type
- Small Philips screwdriver
- Needle-nose pliers
- Work light
- Magnifier (optional)
Tone Wheels project information
Lite2Sound devices were first offered in 2009 by Eric Archer, and in 2012 the Lite2Sound PX circuit was introduced. Since then, Rare Waves has made over 500 Lite2Sound PX units for DIY synth builders, sound designers, field recording enthusiasts, and creative audio producers around the world. The Lite2Sound PX DIY kit has been taught as a fun educational group DIY project as well at the Piksel [X] Festival, Rhode Island School of Design, and 3rd Ward Brooklyn.
Lite2Sound™ is a trademark of Rare Waves LLC